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First Pitch: Don't trade Freddy

There are a lot of ways the Yankees could go with their starting staff, but one way they shouldn't is trading Freddy Garcia.

Garcia is too professional and, more importantly, too good to let go. Even if the Yankees decide that coming out of spring training that they want to go with the young guys, I think, in that scenario, you put Garcia in the pen and try to keep him stretched out as much as you can so he is ready when you need him.

Now, if it were me, I would likely put Garcia in the rotation and choose between Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes starting the year at Triple-A.

Even if one of those three began the season in the minors, they would still be vital members of the 2012 major league team because they would be the first one up when the invariable starter is needed due to ineffective performance or injury. This was the role Hector Noesi was going to play if he weren't in the Pineda deal.

When Andy Pettitte arrives, the Yankees have seven starters for five seats. They will need all seven during the year, no doubt.

Garcia threw well all of last year and is even firing his fastball a little harder this spring. I don't know why you would deal him, especially because even though teams would want him they aren't going to deal anything of significance for him.

The Yankees, you wouldn't think, would need to reduce payroll -- but you can't say for certain considering how long the Pettitte talks went on and with the budget only being stretched $2.5M for him. Still, Garcia's $4 million shouldn't be a factor.

Plus, the Yankees have no '12 need that a Garcia trade could fill.

Still, there is a view that the Yankees will deal him.

"I think they will," a scout who covers the Yankees said.

If that were to happen, then the starting five would be cleared up until Pettitte arrives. An injury, of course, also could still settle things here at the end of spring training.

If not, I would strongly consider letting Pineda get everything in order at Triple-A to begin the season, because by the end of the year he could still very well be the Yankees' No. 2 starter in the playoffs. That is how great Pineda's potential is so the Yankees must -- first and foremost -- do what is best for the 23-year-old.

Pineda might be better served by reducing the pressure on him by coming up as a need starter and then becoming the rotation fixture the team envisions. It would alleviate the focus on his importance from the start, which could be vital at the end.

That is just one more reason to keep Garcia around.

UP NOW: Kieran Darcy on Hughes. My piece on Pineda.

ON DECK: Darcy will have you covered as the Yankees face the Jays at The Boss tonight. The game is on YES. CC Sabathia starts. Nick Swisher (groin) is expected in the lineup. Pettitte is expected to throw a side session.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What would you do with Freddy?